Going global: First IIT campus outside India to come up in Zanzibar
This emphasizes India's commitment to fostering people-to-people ties across Africa and the Global South
Pioneering a historic initiative, the first-ever Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus outside India is set to be established in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India, IIT Madras, and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) Zanzibar-Tanzania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday (July 5, 2023) to formalize this landmark initiative.
The IIT Madras-Zanzibar campus is expected to commence operations soon, with plans to launch programs in October 2023. The academic programs, curricula, student selection processes, and pedagogical details will be overseen by IIT Madras, while the government of Zanzibar-Tanzania will provide the necessary capital and operating expenditure.
Students enrolled in this campus will be awarded IIT Madras degrees, further enhancing the reputation and global reach of the institution.
The state-of-the-art interdisciplinary degrees are expected to attract a diverse cohort and will include students from Africa and other countries as well. Indian students are also eligible to apply to these programs, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The MoU signing ceremony took place in the presence of President of Zanzibar Hussein Ali Mwinyi and External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar. The document, which provides the framework for the Parties to detail out the setting up of the proposed campus, was signed by High Commissioner of India to Tanzania Binaya Srikanta Pradhan, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy, and Acting Principal Secretary, MoEVT Zanzibar Khalid Masoud Wazir.
“Witnessed the signing of the agreement on setting up of @iitmadras Zanzibar campus. Appreciate President @DrHmwinyi gracing the occasion, as also the presence of his Ministers. This historic step reflects India’s commitment to the Global South’” EAM Jaishankar tweeted.
This initiative not only highlights the longstanding friendship between India and Tanzania but also emphasizes India's commitment to fostering people-to-people ties across Africa and the Global South. The establishment of the IIT campus in Zanzibar aligns with the objectives outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which encourages high-performing Indian universities to expand their presence by setting up campuses in other countries.
“This unique partnership will bring the top-ranked educational expertise of IITM to a prime destination in Africa and serve the imperative current needs of the region,” the MEA said.
By venturing beyond its borders, India aims to strengthen educational collaboration and create opportunities for students and researchers in the region. This move signifies a new chapter in the relationship between India and Tanzania and formalizes the educational partnership.
The establishment of the campus also expands the international footprint of IIT Madras. The presence of a diverse student and faculty body from the international campus is expected to enhance the quality of education and research at IIT Madras, fostering greater collaboration with other top-ranked academic institutions worldwide.
Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan hailed the MoU signing as a historic beginning towards the internationalization of Indian higher education. He further emphasized that the initiative embodies Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to strengthening South-South cooperation and forging stronger people-to-people ties with Africa.
It is expected that the IIT campus in Zanzibar will serve as a catalyst for research and innovation in the region. By attracting top-tier faculty, academicians, and students, the campus becomes a vibrant hub for the promotion of proliferating reliable scientific content.
Through collaborations with local industries, organizations, and government bodies, the campus can address regional challenges, drive economic growth, and contribute to the sustainable development of the surrounding communities. This emphasis on research and innovation not only benefits the region but also positions the IIT campus in Zanzibar as a leader in technological advancements and solutions with global relevance.